What better way to celebrate the new year than with a renewed commitment to financial health? As the year begins, you have a new opportunity to take control of your financial destiny. No matter what your financial situation has been up to this point, you can take it in hand now and change it. It’s not as difficult, involved or as long a process as you think. It simply requires a commitment and a strategy to help you meet that commitment. CalendarBudget is here to help you do just that, starting with these five New Year’s resolutions and some simple money management tips to help you move from surviving to thriving. What’s more, looking after your resources is easier than it’s ever been, thanks to tools like CalendarBudget’s app. With a plan and these basic tools, you could be on top of your spending and have your money working for you in no time.
Take Control of Your Budget
Few people really commit themselves to the following of a detailed, dedicated budget. Some people spend without thinking about a budget until they find they’ve run short of cash. Others set up a general budget at the beginning of the month, but then often don’t manage it carefully and in detail as their spending progresses. There’s a perception that budgeting is a difficult thing to do… and, perhaps even pointless, as needs arise and unplanned expenses exert pressure on your spending plan. Some people balk at the perceived restrictions of a budget, feeling both bound and controlled by its limitations.
However, none of this should be the case. It is possible to set a budget and stay within it while monitoring your spending carefully. In fact, not only is it possible, it is something you owe to yourself. You owe yourself the peace of mind and the empowerment that comes from taking control of your finances, knowing exactly what you have to spend on necessities, what you have to save and what you can spend on the odd luxury here and there. So, as the year starts, give yourself that gift. Decide to set your budget and take control of it. After all, it does not control you, it works for you!
This may be an exercise in restraint but that doesn’t mean it needs to be about constraint. Budgeting makes you realize how much you have in relation to what you really need, and how far you can make things stretch if you just get more conscious about your finances.
CalendarBudget is an online finance app that you can run across all your devices. It allows you to track and plan your money in the past and the future. It is an easy-to-use and extremely powerful tool for controlling your budget.
Put a Debt Repayment Plan in Place
It doesn’t matter how much debt you have. It could be a mountain of longstanding obligations or just your current credit card payments. Either way, there is no need to be intimidated by it or to be flippant about it. It can very easily get out of control either way. Acknowledge your debt, take stock of what you owe and draw up a decisive and strategic plan to pay it off.
This month, do an exercise that will make you feel good about yourself and your ability to control your finances by drawing up a full list of what you owe and total it up. You now have a full view of all the money you owe. Now commit to paying it off in the quickest possible time. If you have credit card debt, don’t just make the minimum payments; commit to paying a little extra each month. Keep it within your budget but always pay as much more than the instalment as you can afford. This will not only help you to knock that debt back as soon as possible, but it will also simply help you to feel more in control. Each month, as you pay your debts, note how much you’ve paid and how much you have left. It’s very satisfying to watch the total go down – even if it is in small increments.
CalendarBudget can help you keep track of your payments. It also has alerts and reminders to ensure that you never miss a payment. In addition, it helps you to prevent further debt by giving you forecasts of the consequences of each credit or cash spending decision you make today.
Boost Your Savings
The next step after cutting down debt is to increase your savings. In fact, the two steps aren’t sequential but should, rather, be taken together. The overall pattern in North America’s consumer culture (and elsewhere in the world, for that matter) is that people have too much debt and not enough savings. You’ve probably been wishing and meaning to save for years? But, there’s always been an excuse not to… This year, why not commit to putting money aside. It doesn’t even have to be a massive amount every month. Obviously, the more you can afford, the better, but every little bit counts. You just need to be committed and consistent. So, when looking at your budget, decide on a specific amount you’re going to set aside every month, with the aim of building up reserves amounting to at least three months’ salary to have in cash holdings in case of emergencies.
How much you save for tomorrow depends on how much current spending you are prepared to sacrifice. CalendarBudget can help you with that by showing you the long-term results of your spending, versus those of your saving efforts. With this aid on hand, you will have more incentive to keep money back.
Once Savings Are in Place, Consider Investing
Once you have built up sufficient cash reserves (or even before, if you are disciplined enough) think carefully about investing. What can you invest in this year that will yield considerable dividends in the year(s) to come? You don’t have to do anything too risky either. Maybe it is time to make a major investment in property or a business venture? Then again, perhaps a decent, relatively high-yield investment account is all you need right now. Do what feels comfortable for you. But, whatever you do, make sure you get your money working for you.
Maximize Retirement Fund Contributions
You can never put aside enough money for retirement. Whatever spare penny you can save, plow it into your provisions for the day you will leave work behind for good. Your future self will thank you for it.
If you are part of a company pension scheme, consider making bigger monthly contributions than you currently are, if you can. Depending on where you are, it may be into your Canadian RRSP or American 401k or whichever other plan(s) you have in place. Some employers offer matched-funding contributions to retirement schemes. If you are able to raise your contribution, your employer may be able to match you, making for an even bigger contribution. And, at no additional cost to you.
An Extra Resolution: Start Using CalendarBudget!
CalendarBudget is the easy-to-use software you can utilize to take control of your finances. It runs in your browser or mobile device on either Android or iOS, so you can use it across all your devices. Whatever changes you make in one place will reflect on all the others.
With CalendarBudget, you will never miss a bill, you will always be able to keep track of your income and expenses, and you will see your projected account balance on any day in the future, based on your current expenditure. You can use the app to not only plan for future expenses but also to plan your savings for your future.
CalendarBudget tracks and forecasts your use of your money in the same way you use it, day-to-day, using a calendar as your point of reference. You can observe your spending and the projections the app makes based on it, and make changes accordingly to help you create a better financial future. By tracking your spending and showing you the outcomes of your financial actions, CalendarBudget encourages you to make better decisions and rethink your financial behaviour. It discourages impulse buying and encourages cash over credit purchases.
You can also forecast your use of money, plan ahead for major purchases and jump months and even years into the future to plan for particular occasions.
Find out about more about CalendarBudget by contacting us today, or download the app to get started.